By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — Humbled and honored are the two words Dennis Flaherty says went through his head when he was named grand marshal for St. Patrick Day Grand Parade XXIX.
Michael Scannel, fellow parishioner to Flaherty at St. Anthony Parish, nominated Flaherty for his service to family, the Marine Corps, St. Anthony Parish, the people in the Quad-City community and local veterans.
Flaherty attended St. Paul the Apostle, then Holy Family Catholic schools and graduated from Assumption High School — all in Davenport. He met the late Father James Conroy at Holy Family Parish and admired him and later had the opportunity to work with Fr. Conroy through St. Anthony Parish.
Flaherty enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1963 and served overseas, including in Vietnam. After finishing his military service, he worked at Industrial Engineering Equipment Co. for 27 years as a purchasing manager. The company became VanMeter Electric Supply and he retired there after three years. He returned to work for 3E for seven years before retiring again.
For more than 30 years Flaherty has been a member of St. Anthony Parish; he served as its business manager for several years. He oversaw the planning, funding and dedication of the parish hall. He also served as a janitor, was a parish board member for 10 years, and has been a eucharistic minister, lector and “whatever else they needed me to do.” Currently he is a parish trustee.
Outside the parish Flaherty does what he can while coping with Parkinson’s disease. He visits veterans in hospice and helps deliver Meals on Wheels.
Flaherty and his wife Patty Ann have been married for more than 40 years. They have three daughters and four grandsons. “I am proud of all my grandsons,” he beamed.
The St. Patrick festivities begin March 15 with Mass at St. Mary Church in Rock Island, Ill., at 10 a.m. Flaherty will lead the parade as grand marshal at 11:30 a.m. The parade starts in Rock Island and continues across Centennial Bridge into Davenport.